Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Hundred Years’ War - By Bionic Mosquito

When the British armed forces occupied the Middle East at the end of the war, the region was passive.
From chapter 43: “The Troubles Begin: 1919 – 1921”; A Peace to End All Peace, David Fromkin

With this sentence, Fromkin begins his examination of the troubles for western imperialists throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia.  Of course, there were interventions before this time (Britain already had significant presence in Egypt and India, for example), yet – corresponding with the overall theme of Fromkin’s book – his examination centers on the aftermath of the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Fromkin summarizes the situation and conflict in nine different regions (many of which were not “countries” as we understand the term).  He suggests that the British did not see a connection in these difficulties, one region to the other:
In retrospect, one sees Britain undergoing a time of troubles everywhere in the Middle East between 1919 and 1921; but it was not experienced that way, at least not in the beginning.

As I have found repeatedly throughout this book, while history might not repeat, it rhymes so obviously that one could suggest plagiarism.
This is a long post – 3500 words; for those who want the summary, I offer the following: Egypt, Afghanistan, Arabia, Turkey, Syria and Lebanon, Eastern Palestine (Transjordan), Palestine – Arabs and Jews, Mesopotamia (Iraq), Persia (Iran).
Promises made during war, promises broken during the peace; local factions at odds with each other; most factions at odds with the imperialists; intrigue and double-dealing; fear of the Bolshevik menace; costly wars and occupations; the best laid plans of mice….
There you have it – you can skip the details if you like.  Alternatively, just pick up a copy of today’s paper……..
I don’t know – it isn’t over yet.